United Youth

Manchester United Reserves & Academy News

Petrucci off the mark as U18’s edge out Norwich (inc. highlights)

Posted by nickogs20 on August 30, 2008

Man Utd Norwich City
United U18 2-0 Norwich City U18

Petrucci 51
James 77


The U18’s continued their promising start to the new campaign at Carrington this morning, with a first Academy goal for Davide Petrucci and a decisive Matty James strike securing all three points for the young Reds from a close, hard-fought encounter with their Norwich City counterparts.

Paul McGuinness made just the two changes to the team that drew at West Ham last week, Conor Devlin making his competitive Academy debut in place of Gary Woods between the sticks and Chris Curran coming in for Evandro Brandão as the formation shifted from a 4-4-2 to more of a 4-5-1, with widemen Curran and Cameron Stewart supporting lone striker Kiko Macheda.

Davide Petrucci was given something of a free role behind his countryman and just in front of the Matty James-Ollie Norwood central midfield tandem, while the back four remained unchanged in the continued absence of Scott Moffatt and Joe Dudgeon. With Joshua King, Ryan Tunnicliffe and Zeki Fryers also not involved, Jack Dean was drafted in from the U16’s as one of the five substitutes.

The first-half was lively but an extremely congested central midfield area contributed towards long periods of scrappy play. United were marginally on top but neither side really tested their opposing keeper until ten minutes before the break, when Norwich stopper Declan Rudd was called into action to deny Macheda, whose right-footed strike after a terrific move involving Stewart and Petrucci just lacked the sufficient power. That accusation certainly couldn’t be levelled at Matty James’ long-range effort five minutes later, but the captain’s well-struck shot just clipped the top of the crossbar with Rudd well-beaten.

On the stroke of half-time, the Reds came even closer to opening the scoring, Norwood’s left-wing freekick causing havoc in the Norwich area as the ball squirmed from Rudd’s grasp and rolled across the face of goal. Oliver Gill came agonisingly close to turning the ball in but was just unable to wrap his right foot around the ball.

With United building up something of a head of steam the break came at an inconvenient time really, but McGuinness’ side came out after the interval and immediately looked to re-seize the initiative. Four minutes into the second period Cameron Stewart showed great skill down the left to break free of the attentions of his marker and flash a low shot across goal which Curran was inches away from turning in at the far post.

Just two minutes later more fine work down the left led to the deadlock finally being broken. James and Stewart spread the ball to Macheda on the left-hand side of the penalty area, the big Italian worked himself space to cross with a clever change of pace and his inch-perfect centre presented his compatriot Petrucci with a headed chance that he was never going to pass up. United were well on top and had the lead they deserved.

That lead was nearly doubled within sixty seconds of the restart, Macheda again instrumental as he picked out James’ run from midfield with a superb pass. The skipper found himself unmarked just inside the 18-yard box and hit a fierce shot which Rudd was grateful to see struck straight at him. United’s intent to look for more goals was evident and chances continued to come and go over the next 20 minutes or so. Curran tapped-in a rebound after Rudd spilled another James shot but was ruled to have strayed offside, and shortly after the Ulsterman saw a rasping angled drive superbly turned round the post by the Canaries’ keeper.

With twenty minutes to go the woodwork came to Norwich’s aid once again, Rudd superbly palming a point-blank header from Macheda onto the post. A second goal looked inevitable, but for a short period it looked as if it might be the visitors who would grab it. Striker Luke Daley went close twice in a matter of minutes, first guiding a free header just past the far post before firing narrowly over the crossbar after a mazy run that saw him elude four United players.

Cause for concern for Reds’ coach McGuinness, but any fears that Norwich were on the verge of hauling themselves level were swiftly extinguished by a sublime second United goal. There looked to be little on when Kenny Strickland picked the ball up near the halfway line but his pinpoint long pass from the right flank found James in behind the Canaries’ defence. With two touches the skipper brought the ball out of the sky superbly before deftly lifting the ball over Rudd and into the far corner to effectively finish the game as a contest.

Norwich, to their credit, didn’t let heads drop and had a number of chances to pull a goal back as United’s intensity understandably eased off. Renton fired straight at Devlin before Smith’s low curling effort from just outside the box tested the debutant keeper a great deal more. Davey then struck Devlin’s crossbar with a mishit cross, but for the second consecutive game the Reds’ rearguard was not to be breached. The crossbar down the other end was also left shaking as the clock ran down, James’ near-post header from a Norwood corner beating Rudd but rebounding to safety – 2-0 it finished.

Kiko Macheda and Davide Petrucci both impressed – Macheda’s link-up play and ability on the ball was top-drawer, while Petrucci was at the heart of United’s best attacking play from the half-hour mark onwards and seemingly popped up everywhere. Man of the Match for me though goes to Matty James, scorer of a wonderful goal, unfortunate not to bag two more and – like Petrucci – involved in all the Reds’ best work going forward.


1. Conor Devlin
2. Kenny Strickland
3. Oliver Gill
4. Reece Brown
5. Scott Wootton
6. Oliver Norwood
7. Chris Curran
8. Matty James (c)
9. Federico Macheda
10. Davide Petrucci
11. Cameron Stewart (12. Robert Brady 69)

Subs not used
13. Gary Woods
14. Nicky Ajose
15. Evandro Brandão
16. Jack Dean

The U18’s will look to build on their strong start to the season with another home game next weekend. Middlesbrough are the visitors to Carrington next Saturday for a 12pm kick-off that will be shown live on MUTV.

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7 Responses to “Petrucci off the mark as U18’s edge out Norwich (inc. highlights)”

  1. Arpit said

    Thanks for this mate. really appreciated. I like the look of Petrucci while James has been solid.

  2. Dr.Twinny said

    Wow…the young devils look really good!Macheda,petrucci and james in particular.i really rate macheda highly,i think he is an intelligent, powerful and skillful striker who will make it an Old Trafford in the not so distant future.

  3. Kina said

    thanx so much for putting this online…i wonder why we educate them and then cut them off when they get to the senior team…i’ll rather we’d have played Chris Eagles than buy Berbatov…but that’s just my opinion…Long Live Utd.


  4. […] Petrucci off the mark as U18’s edge out Norwich (inc. highlights) […]

  5. julianjz said

    nice one guys

  6. Eager Beever said

    Macheda – Why is everyone raving about him, he is lazy and a very selfish player. There are other members of that team that work their asses off week in week out and they dont get a mention……
    Its a team game, not just about the guy that puts the ball in the back of the net, dont forget someone else has done all the hard work getting it to that point!!!

  7. RaiulBaztepo said

    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language ;)
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

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